For the Love of Toothpaste

August 13, 2006 at 7:15 am (Islam)

I have a message for those self-proclaimed Muslims planning to blow up/ currently blowing up/ have already blown up stuff…  I mean honestly, guys…what is UP with you?  After all the hard work Western Muslims are doing to improve the image of Islam and the state of our Ummah—you have to go and pull this.  You just had to—you couldn’t resist.  Do you have any idea how diligently we have been working to try to  plan conferences, book speakers, have interfaith collaborations, disseminate press releases, educate friends, coworkers, colleagues about the true essence of Islam?  We have been establishing political action committees, pushing members of our community to run for local office and become active in their city’s arena, encouraging our children to go into journalism, law, human rights, networking, and building more cohesive Muslim communities.  These are ongoing efforts—but they take time and patience to see results.  But, just when we go one step forward—a bombing plot is foiled, some guys want to detonate 70 prepaid cell phones, a shoebomb goes off, etc.   3 million steps backward. 

Now my parents are traveling back from their yearly visit to the 
Middle East, and  my poor mother cannot put toothpaste in her carry-on luggage lest she be accused of carrying a ticking fluoride-filled minty fresh plaque-preventing tooth-whitening  liquid bomb.  Good Lord Almighty! 

Yes I know all the different theories about why you do what you do. I know American foreign policy is whack crunk.  I know most of you were raised in poverty, tragedy,  unemployment, religious extremism rampant.  I even know some think it’s because the verses in the Qur’an are inherently violent—or maybe you were just born with an autosomal dominant homozygous i-like-to-kill-innocent-people gene.  Whatever the reason is—trust me I have heard them all. I have even employed multiple variations of these theories in discussions with non-Muslims to try to elicit a more understanding view of the Eastern Muslim world and why they have resorted this. 

But, at this point, I’ve had enough.  I’m sick of the sadness and grief that fills me with every headline at the lives of innocents killed.  I’m sick of scanning the room in fear for reactions to my nametag.  I’m sick of hearing the “let’s nuke ‘em all” undertones  of conversations about the latest news.  I’m sick of having to defend why I do what I do, wear what I wear, look like the way I do, read what I read.  I’m sick of having to educate, explain, and worry about what others think of the way of life I love so dearly and the region of the world I am so passionate about.  Maybe I am young and naive—but I know that every one of us feels exactly like this every time that CNN “Breaking News” Ticker emerges onto the screen—even if we don’t admit it. 

Sigh.  So…  Just stop it.  Okay?  Please?  For the love of toothpaste? 



  1. moi said,

    mabroooook 🙂 I guess my nagging worked, huh?
    I totally agree with what you’re saying, and I’m sure most Muslim/Arab Americans feel the same frustration.
    When I was in Jordan, if someone frowned at me or treated me rudely I would just think that they’re rude and have no manners, not that they had something personal against me. I noticed that when I came back, I’m more conscious of the way people treat me. I’m more hurt when someone gives me a dirty look on the road or doesn’t say “have a nice day” at the supermarket. I can’t help but feel that it’s because I look like a Muslim, and that hurts much more.

  2. Iman said,

    Intersting…Believe it or not though, there is some segment in this society that is willing to listen and learn! so there is hope at least!

    Anyway, Moi … you said “I can’t help but feel that it’s because I look like a Muslim, and that hurts much more. ” … umm, not meaning to sound sarcastic of undermining at all, but what does a Muslim look like?

  3. moi said,

    lol, iman, I meant someone who looks noticeably Muslim, as in a girl wearing a hijab, or a man wearing an Islamic type hat or even a Sikh man wearing a turban who someone could wrongly assume is a Muslim. not that all muslims look like this, but some are more distinguishable than others by their choice of dress, especially now with lots of Muslim youth wearing unique t-shirts that have “islamic” slogans, etc.

  4. mayespinoza43776 said,

    Sabes que el sentimiento es mutuo, y que el escuadron de los adoptados durara “forever”. Aunque tambien te doy la razon, como ya hemos hablado otra ve Click

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